daihatsu mira es-perodua

Perodua is planning to introduce an aluminium engine in its next model (Daihatsu Mira e:S pictured), which is due in the third quarter of next year, Bernama reports. The motor would be produced at its new RM1.3 billion facility, located next to its existing Sungai Choh, Rawang plant.

“We are going to change our engine from cast iron to aluminium to further improve the internal combustion engine,” CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh told reporters recently at the Revive Your Drive Contest prize-giving ceremony yesterday.

Besides improved fuel consumption, the move to an aluminium engine would reduce manufacturing costs, he said. The automaker aims to reduce costs by 20 to 30% come 2015. The new 65,000-sq ft plant is expected to begin operations by October 2014, and is capable of adding 100,000 units to Perodua’s annual production capacity.

The “next model” talked about here is most likely the replacement for the Perodua Viva, which has been around since 2007. Its successor will be the cheapest new car in the country, and could be either be based on the Daihatsu Mira e:S (Japan) or its Daihatsu Ayla (Indonesia) derivative.

KF-VE and 1KR-FE

The engine in question could be the Topaz Neo, the 52 PS and 60 Nm KF-VE transverse three-cylinder 658 cc NA mill used in the Mira e:S, or the 997 cc D26F-1KR-DE (otherwise known as the 1KR-FE as used by Toyota, as seen on the right), which offers 66 PS and 87 Nm in the Ayla. Both units feature aluminium engine blocks, as opposed to the cast iron-block E-Series units (660 cc EF, 850 cc ED and 1.0 litre EJ).

Perodua has previously intimated that the new car will offer very good fuel economy, and the KF-VE touts just that as its biggest selling point – claimed figures on a JC08 mode test cycle is 30 km per litre.

Back in 2010, the automaker said it had plans to develop a next-gen eco-mill with the help of Daihatsu, and the target specifications for the mill would be a 660 cc displacement and an inline two-cylinder turbocharged configuration, complete with direct fuel injection. The forced induction lump would be good for 63 hp and 100 Nm, but there’s been no word on that front since then.

In Japan, the Topaz Neo KF three-pot is also available in turbocharged form, the KF-DET offering 64 hp and 103 Nm – the engine was found on the previous Mira incarnation, which was adapted to become the Viva here. It’s unlikely that we’ll be getting anything along the turbo route for this market, of course, which leaves us with the KF-VE and D26F-1KR-DE. Which will we see? The speculation continues.